Friday, May 13, 2011

ECF Preview (or, Rambling Bulls' Love and Heat Hate)

Well, since the Bulls finished off the Hawks Thursday (and maybe even since we won game 5), I've been thinking about this Bulls/Heat series. I hadn't been nervous or anxious for either of the first two rounds. Even when we faced a critical game 5 against the Hawks, I wasn't worried. I just felt/knew that we would win, and we did. But since then, a familiar feeling has returned ... anxiousness that can only come from an NBA playoff series against a team that you HATE.

I knew this feeling recently back in April and May of 2009, when the Bulls went 7 games against the modern-NBA's first "Big 3", the Boston Celtics. The archives here at BBS prove how much I hated that team (and how much the series meant to me) as it was the busiest 2 months ever (118 posts over a two-month stretch).

I wrote a few coherent thoughts and mostly spewed hate-filled venom for the same reasons I am compelled to write this preview despite how little I have been writing in this space lately. I am compelled to write because I love the Bulls and, perhaps just as much, because I HATE the Heat. Sports hate is a wonderful thing, as it gives us an "enemy" - our own creation that we can build up and then hopefully destroy in a great triumph. And that's what these Miami Heat represent, this team that we hate and want nothing more than for our Bulls to knock out of the playoffs and "prove" that what they did (and how they did it) was wrong.

But can the Bulls actually knock off the Heat in a 7-game series?! I honestly don't know, but here are some rambling thoughts (hopes?) on why we might be able to pull it off.

When I started thinking about this series, my basketball brain said "Heat in 6", while my heart desperately hoped for Bulls in 7. First, here's why I think the Heat could win in 6:

I'm not sure I can say this enough: I HATE the Heat ... hate hate HATE! But if we try to remove all bias and hate, this is an NBA team with Dwyane Wade AND Lebron James. That's a pretty great tandem by any measure. (Any measure outside of Chicago, where they don't really stack up against MJ and Pip - but that's another issue for another time). In reality, these are 2 of the best players in the A, and they are playing on the same team! Regardless of any of the other players, that is already a formidable opponent.

Now imagine Chris Bosh made 3/4 of his current salary. He's no longer a max-contract guy, but instead makes about $10.8 million this season (or about $.5 million less than Deng). If that were the case (and if he weren't on the Heat), we'd all be saying that he's the best 3rd banana in the league! He put up 18ppg and 8rpg as the 3rd wheel this season ... so what really sucks about him is his contract/salary, not what he does on the court.

OK, enough of that why-the-Heat-are-actually-good nonsense, allow me to rant quickly on why I hate the Heat ...

Early in his career, I respected (and even enjoyed) Lebron's game. But a discussion with 2 friends a few years back changed my opinion. Like many others, I had been ignoring the selfish and ego-maniacal acts off the court and focusing only on his game on the court. But thanks to that conversation about 4 years ago, I saw the light - I realized how much I hated Lebron. Talented, yes. Enjoyable, or even likable, NO. So I hated Lebron before the decision last summer, and it was even easier for me to hate him (and the Heat) after. I was even proud of Bulls organization when we "failed" to sign that punk.

In the present, everyone hates Lebron and the Heat for how they were assembled, which will make this series even more fun. On my end? I hate every little thing about Lebron ... the Heat just beat the Celtics and celebrated like they won a title. There is this ridiculous Lebron "overcame the obstacle" storyline, as though he FINALLY managed to overcome the Celtics the way MJ and Pip finally beat the Pistons. Two thoughts: (1) If i tried to climb a wall, but couldn't get to the top, and then walked around the wall to the other side ... you wouldnt say i overcame an obstacle - you'd say i took the easy way out. (2) Lebron says "As much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland" - which is basically like starting a sentence with the words "With all due respect", it means you're going to disrespect the person you're addressing. "I knew I couldn’t do it by myself against that team." So basically, those guys were so bad that Lebron was playing 1-against-5 last year. He didn't go to Miami just to get MORE help, he went to Miami to get ANY help at all because those players were nothing! He was playing alone! 1-against-5! ... But he started the sentence saying I LOVED my old teammates! What an egotistical fucking prick.

I've spent the last few days reading analysis and trying to breakdown each matchup and the teams as a whole. There are many bloggers and analysists much better suited for that task than I. Here are a few of the better takes I've seen:

(HoopsHype) Chicago Bulls (62-20) vs. Miami Heat (58-24): (Predicts Heat in 6)

(Pro Basketball Talk) Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Bulls vs. Heat: (Predicts Heat in 6)

(Bulls Confidential) How the Bulls can beat the Heat

(CBS - Eye on Basketball) Bulls-Heat Preview: Clash of the you-know-whats: (Predicts Heat in 7)

[This is a must-read breakdown, and not just because Zach Lowe picks the Bulls]
(SI - The Point Forward) Bulls vs. Heat Eastern finals: What to watch: (Predicts Bulls in 7)

Most ECF previews and predictions break down the matchups by position, so here are my rambling thoughts in that format:

Basically, we need our combo of Boozer and Taj to match Bosh. That matchup has to be a wash for most of the other stuff to matter. However, the thing to remember is that Bosh is the Heat's 3rd option! So if both teams get 18/10 from their respective PFs, we've only matched their 3rd option with the guy who was supposed to be our second option (Boozer), and his backup (because I assumed Taj will get significant minutes, and the Heat don't have a backup ... so it's Booz + Taj against Bosh!).

Next, we have Rose dominating the PG matchup. Not worth discussing.

Noah should dominate the C matchup in a similar manner, but he's not an offensive player that can take over and win a game. He needs to dominate on the glass and by being available for help D (taking up space in the lane and altering shots). This is where Asik comes in, and where I once again use the buddy system (Noah + Asik) to point out the Bulls' advantage over the Heat's craptastic group of Cs. Again, the key aspect being dominating the paint (or as Simmons' calls it: the 6-feet in front of the rim), we have two guys capable of controlling that space ... do the Heat have anyone? (Should that be "has" or "have" - I hate singular team names, another strike against the Heat.)

Then we get to the Heat's advantages: Wade and Lebron. These 2 are unstoppable, and it's still somewhat shocking that they play on the same NBA team. But the Bulls' have wing players to make things ... interesting? difficult? Bogans and Brewer are great defenders at the 2, and anything we get offensively is pure bonus. Deng has quietly (or perhaps not quietly) been the Bulls' non-Rose-MVP. He's been spactacular: hitting 3s, slashing, rebounding, and most importantly on D. His footwork has improved exponentially and he really gets Thibs' system. He was a really good defender before, and he is GREAT now ... so he can certainly challenge Lebron. But clearly, both matchups heavily favor the Heat.

So in the 5 major matchups ... we have: 1 tie, Bulls favored in 2, and Heat favored in 2.

I keep coming back to our 2 advantages (Rose and Noah), versus their 2 advantages (Wade and Lebron). Rose and Noah should both be HUGE advantages for the Bulls, while Wade and Lebron(hopefully) aren't quite as big of advantages for the Heat, given our D players at those spots and Thibs' system. Obviously Wade and Lebron can't won't be stopped, but we can make them work for everything with our defensive personnel and Thibs' system, which funnels and helps with perimeter stars.

Beyond positional match-ups and our-system-versus-their-players analysis, I think that Rose or Wade or Lebron will be the best player on the floor any given night. And often, the team with the best player during a playoff game can win that game. Clearly, with Wade AND Lebron, the Heat have the advanatage of having a better chance at having the best player on any given night. I'm thinking that one of Wade or Lebron should be the best player in 4-5 games during this series, with Rose being the best player 2 or possibly (hopefully?) 3 times out of 7 games. This means the Heat will likely have the best player on the floor for 4 (or 5) games out of 7, with Rose taking that role 2 (or hopefully 3) times ... and the Bulls will need a team effort to overcome that disadvantage.

We can only expect Rose to carry the offense so far. We need Noah to get O-rebs and putbacks, we need Korver to knock down shots, we need Taj and CJ to provide a spark off the bench ... we need what we've gotten all season. If we are going to beat the Heat, we are going to ride on Rose's back, but he'll need some help ... it'll be our hometown superstar leading a Bulls' TEAM past Miami's two and a half men. We need other guys to step up and overcome one big night from Wade or Lebron and maybe swing one game when Rose isn't the best player. Can that be done by Luol? or the Booz/Taj combo? or the Bulls' BenchMob - possibly Korver or CJ?

The Bulls have home-court advantage + everyone is HOPING they win, but almost everyone predicting the Heat will win, so the Bulls are somehow the underdogs with home-court advantage. They can ride the energy of the crowd (and entire country outside of Miami) cheering for them, while still having an "us against the world" mindset. So after all that ... I think it's a pretty even series. Maybe the Heat steal game 1, they can shock and overwhelm the shock Bulls as they adjust from playing the Hawks. The Bulls bench is much more talented, and won't be facing such a tough environment in Miami, so they will help the Bull to re-set homecourt by winning game 4.

So I end up where I started - brain (Heat in 6) versus heart (Bulls in 7). And either way, I'm proud to be a life-long Bulls fan as we head into this series. We've all waited 12 long years to get back to this point, playing in (and having a real chance to win) the Eastern Conference Finals, and it really was worth the wait. Maybe the Heat will beat the Bulls and win the title this year, and their "fans" can celebrate at their second "championship rally" less than 12-months after that team became relevant ...

But Bulls' fans don't need a "super team" or 2.5 superstars to support our team. We stuck around for a pretty rough decade after "The Last Dance", whether they were winning or losing, true Bulls' fans have stayed with this team. We've waited 12 years for the Bulls to get back here, and whether it's in two months or next year or five years from now, the wait will be worth it when this Bulls team brings the old summer tradition back to Chicago. Summer starts with a rally in Grant Park, I'll be at the next one no matter how long I have to wait.

But for the record, I've got the Bulls over the Heat in 7, and I'll see you all at the rally in June.

[RE-POST] Chicago Bulls: An Organization of Integrity (Be Proud Bulls' Fans)


I had pretty low expectations for the Bulls' Organization heading into "Summer of 2010" - you might even say I was pessimistic!

But realistically, I assumed the organization had a "Plan A" (sign Chris Bosh and fill some needs), or "Plan B" (sign Carlos Boozer and fill some needs). Those were reasonable, albeit slightly hopeful, expectations.

Then came the talk that the Bulls had a chance at Wade and LeBron, and even I bought into the hype. If you read BBS or follow me on twitter (@bullbearsock), then you know I am a "LeBron Hater," but even I couldn't resist the lure of potentially landing one of the best players on earth.

Turns out, we never had a shot at Wade or LeBron, and we never even had a chance to sign Bosh. The "Big 3" agreed to play together a long time before free agency started, and all of the meetings were for show (literally, as Wade and Bosh might make a documentary about the "experience").

What has been lost in all of this is just how good of a summer the Bulls have had when weighed against plans and expectations. If Miami wasn't stealing all of the attention, more people would be talking about how the Bulls have addressed some major needs and really improved.

With signing of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, along with signing JJ Redick to an offer sheet (that Orlando is expected to match), the Bulls have done just that. We also signed former-draft-pick Omer Asik to add some depth to the front line. We're not done, but if Redick is matched, we can go after other SG options: Ronnie Brewer or Josh Childress. We still need a backup PG, possibly Shaun Livingston or Kyle Lowry. Once we fill those needs, the Bulls will be a significantly improved team from last season.

But beyond the improvements the Bulls have made to the roster, the organization put on a great display of integrity and class. It's somewhat buried in the link above, but worth linking again and pointing out:

It was also made known to James that the Heat would take care of his friends the same way the Cavs did -- special treatment at the arena, changing practice and travel schedules to allow for money-making late-night parties in various cities, and perhaps even hiring a James associate in a high-paying position in the organization.


The Bulls' chances were diminished for two central reasons. Wade wasn't willing to go to his own hometown. And the Bulls made it clear James' friends would not be given the privileges they were given in Cleveland or the high-paying jobs.

So maybe the Bulls didn't land LeBron (or Wade or Bosh), but the organization did the right thing. Instead of getting caught up in doing or saying anything to lure a FA to Chicago, the Bulls took the high road. I'll admit it sucks to lose out on those "top tier" FAs, but I could not be prouder to be a Bulls fan this summer. I'm glad the Bulls made the difficult (but correct) choice not to pander to the needs of a prima dona punk. LeBron has won as many NBA titles as I have, and is not bigger than the game of basketball.

I realize the "3 Miam-Egos" are the early favorites to win the title, but I have some serious doubts about that. Boston won with their "big 3" a few years ago, but they weren't filling the roster with minimum salary guys. They had a good defensive center and a PG that turned out to be better than anyone expected. This Heat team is 3 players and no one else. They may be overwhelmingly more talented at 3 positions, but they will be lacking everywhere else.

Additionally, I would much rather be a fan of an organization with class and dignity. The fair-weather, front-running Heat fans can have their "best trio ever" (as Wade referred to the new Heat trio the other day ... maybe he never watched MJ/Pippen/Rodman, or even MJ/Pippen and Will Perdue). It will be fun to hate LeBron and the Heat, and even more fun to cheer for a Bulls team filled with lovable players.

Maybe the Bulls aren't the favorites to win the title after "Summer of 2010," but I could not be prouder to be a fan of this team and this organization.

[RE-POST] LeBron to Bulls? ... Confessions of a "LeBron Hater"


I will say it up front: I hate LeBron James. I hate his quest to become a "global icon" and I hate his cocky attitude. Everything he does is annoying to me. I was visibly upset when he stole the show at the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest 2 years ago, only to back out and not even compete last year. It was a ploy for attention, because he's an attention-grabbing, me-first kind of guy. I hated him even more when he walked off without shaking hands against the Magic.

I take delight in his failures, and love all the negativity that resulted from "Game 5" against the Celtics. Instead of taking the blame (like MJ, Magic, Bird, etc. would have), he was defiant. Then he had a pretty bad game last night, despite what his triple-double indicates - he shot 8/21 FG and had 9 TOs to go along with his gaudy numbers. It was like he was forcing the triple-double to make a point that it wasn't his fault. It's his team, and it's his fault.

I have often made my hatred for LeBron known, and so I am frequently asked the obvious question: "What will you do if the Bulls sign LeBron this summer?" And the answer is complicated ...

DC (another BBS contributor) recently summarized my thought process on twitter:
@DanFXC: I hope the bulls don't even make lebron an offer. But when they do I hope he signs. I'm OK with this hypocrisy.

As a die-hard NBA fan, I watch a lot of basketball. I recognize talent, and it's obvious that LeBron is the best player in the Association. (I might technically argue that Kobe is a better basketball player and LeBron is the best athlete playing basketball, but that's not the point.) LeBron is awesome. I went to game 3 of the Bulls/Cavs series a couple weeks ago, and it was incredible. I hated every single second of it, but LeBron was ridiculous. Just so we're clear, I get it: he's great. So would I want the best player on my team? Seems dumb to say no. But I hate him so much, how can I possibly say yes?

I will cheer for the Bulls. I will hope they win every game, just like I do now and always have. But I will never love LeBron the way I love those 1990s Bulls players: MJ, Pippen, BJ Armstrong, Jud Buechler, Horace, Rodman, Will Perdue, Craig Hodges, Cliff Levingston (the list goes on and on ...) and current Bulls D-Rose and JoaNoah. I will never love LeBron like that. He will never be included in my list of "Top 10 Favorite Bulls' Players" (or even my 'Top 25'). I hate him enough that I can be sure of that.

But my loyalty to the Bulls goes much deeper than my LeBron hate. I was only 7 years old, but I still hate the 'Bad Boy Pistons' for walking off the floor when we completed the sweep in 1991. I still remember being mad at Magic a couple weeks later, when the Bulls whooped the Lakers and tied the 1991 NBA Finals 1-1, and he said (with a been-there-won-that swagger): "You could lose by 1 or lose by 20, it's still 1-1". I grew up thinking that every summer started with a Chicago Bulls Championship parade. I didn't hope we would win, I expected it. (That's how good MJ and Pippen were.) I ran up and down the streets banging pots and pans after Pax hit the "3 for the 3-peat". I followed MJ's baseball career, and defended Scottie after "the migraine". I loved the "Beatles-esque" aura that surrounded the 72-win team with Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. I know exactly where I was the day we drafted Dickey Simpkins. I cried, literally cried, when Phil Jackson called 1998 "The Last Dance." I watched us draft the co-rookie of the year, then trade him after he put up two-straight 20/10 seasons. I even hung with the Bulls when they signed the arch-enemy, John Starks. I was there for drafting BG only to let him walk for nothing, and I still wear my draft-day hat from the night we drafted Tyrus Thomas. I jumped up and hugged my roommate when we won the 1.7%-chance lotto for D-Rose, two grown men hugging and yelling like 5-year-olds.

I've blindly stayed committed to this team for the last 12 years. We have had a couple ups, but many more downs. It's been frustrating and terrifying and awful, but I couldn't be swayed ... I'm a Bulls fan. It's what I am, and it's all I know. I know what it's like to win and win and win (twice). So I have held onto that hope during the last twelve seasons, hoping that we can get to that point again. We've had some steps in the right direction, and could be taking a big step toward that goal this summer. And if signing LeBron gives us the best chance to win (and win and win), I will support that signing and support him, because he will be a member of my team.

He's not my first choice this summer, as I'd gladly take Wade or Bosh instead ... but I will support my team regardless of what happens. Maybe after I spend some time supporting the Bulls, and thus LeBron in a Bulls uniform, I will even begin to stop disliking him. I doubt it, but it's possible. But I know that whatever our starting lineup ends up being next year, if LeBron is on the Bulls, he will be my fifth favorite player in that group.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Click-a-Bull (Bulls/Celtics with Rose VIDEO; and Rose/MVP)

Celtics Vs. Bulls: Derrick Rose Stamps Out Rajon Rondo, Boston In 97-81 Chicago Win

Derrick Rose didn't need to thoroughly dominate Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics in the Chicago Bulls' 97-81 victory on Thursday night to squelch concerns about his team's NBA Playoffs readiness. A win would have been enough. But Rose dominated Rondo and the C's, and in the process might have convinced even the most discerning skeptics that this Bulls team is the presumptive favorite to become champion.

Rose was marvelous, shooting 9-16 from the floor and 10-10 from the line to rack up 30. He added eight assists and just three giveaways, plus five rebounds and two steals. He's now hit the 30-point mark in six of the Bulls' last 11 games, and if you account for the quality of the opponent, this was Rose's best game since he dropped 42 on the Spurs on Feb. 17. Rose's dirty little secret is that he's only shot 42 percent since the All-Star break. But against the best defense other than that of his own team, he was efficient in addition to spectacular. He was the best player on the floor, without question.

Rose’s MVP Case Closed

What else do you need to see from Derrick Rose to believe that if nothing else, his name should be the first one out of your mouth when we start the MVP conversation?

We understand that the analytical crowd has presented a very impressive case as to why Rose should not take home that trophy. But we watched him shred the Celtics last night on TNT, doing the same thing to one of the best defensive teams on the planet that he has done to basically everyone in the league all season.

And we just can’t escape the fact that our eyes keep seeing something that the stat crowd apparently is missing. If you’re the best player on the floor every night out and your team, also a strong candidate for the best in the league right now, continues to beat back the competition (the Bulls are 58-20 and barring a catastrophe will finish atop the Eastern Conference standings) on a nightly basis, shouldn’t Rose’s MVP case be closed by now?

Road to the Finals: Chicago Bulls

No one likes to admit they were wrong. In the long list of people who are willing to admit they're wrong, sports writers are just above politicians and below artists. It's a product of the kind of currency that operates among sports editors and a result of the kind of comments you'll see litter most posts about sports across the internet. So this isn't exactly easy.

I was wrong.

Way wrong.

Monumentally stupid would be another way to put it, but we're going to roll with just wrong. Back in July, before we'd seen a lick of basketball, we ran our offseason grades. In appraising the Bulls, I looked at Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans and didn't see it. I initially gave them a C+, then considering their total positioning of their current roster, upgraded them to a B-. Sure, they'd be better than the 8th seed they were in 2010. But were they really going to be that much better? Were they really going to compete for a title? Were they really going to be great?

Yes. Yes they were.

The Bulls are a great team. And they enter the playoffs at their absolute zenith. They are led by the all-but-elected MVP Derrick Rose, who we'll get to. Their coach is the near-lock Coach of the Year. We'll get to him, too. They defend, can run, can play in the half-court, they rebound, and they have that rare ability to find the way to win. Their being at the top of the Eastern Conference should not be a surprise if you've been watching this season. They've been great. The playoffs will give them the chance to prove it.

Bulls’ message to Celtics: We can beat you

Turn the corner into the Chicago Bulls’ coach’s office, and there was something seldom seen: Three kids climbing onto Tom Thibodeau, twisting back his arms, mussing his hair and threatening to topple him backward in his desk chair. These were his nephews from Berlin, Conn., wearing UConn Huskies jackets and sharing with the reclusive, relentless coach the closest you’ll ever see to a rollicking postgame party.

Here was Thibodeau flanked with Diet Coke cans and two bottles of honey for a voice struggling to make it to the playoffs. Ask Thibodeau about that Chicago Sun-Times back page that dropped on his office desk sometime after 6 a.m. on Thursday, and his eyes dart wide, his mouth curls into a smile and he says: “How great was that?”

There was a photo of a glum Derrick Rose(notes), with his words splattered across the page in big, bold, alarming letters: “We’re not moving in the right direction.”

Here’s the genius of these Bulls: Somehow, the leadership can sell everyone – the papers, the locker room – on the idea that the most dominant, most locked-in regular-season team is somehow vulnerable, somehow on the cusp of catastrophe. The Chicago Bulls had won 16 of 18 games, and yet here was Rose delivering a foreboding message with the Boston Celtics looming. Thibodeau could warn his team over and over on slippage, but nothing resonates like a star sounding the alarm.

“And then, he comes out and backs it up,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said later with a sigh. “That kid is something else.”

Rose etched his name on the MVP against Celtics

If there was really any doubt, I'm pretty sure it was eliminated Thursday. And no, I'm not talking about the Celtics chance at the No. 1 seed.

Derrick Rose is your MVP. It's happening. If you love advanced stats, if you love Dwight Howard, I'm just warning you now -- deal with it.

After his electric performance Thursday destroying the Celtics (30 points on 9-16 shooting, seven assists) in front of a national TNT audience while announcers, fans and media fawning over him for 48 minutes, there's just no doubt about it.

Whether Rose should win it, that's for another column. In fact, read Ken Berger's stellar piece on exactly that. But it was clear Thursday against Boston that Rose is very, very deserving.

This was a big game. You could feel it. The Bulls not only had a chance to essentially wrap up the top seed, but send a substantial message to the Celtics, and the rest of the Eastern Conference. If there are "Heisman Moments" in college football, you could lock down this game as Rose's. He showcased every ability he has, led his team masterfully and basically destroyed the defending East champs.

It was a complete takedown.

I'm not necessarily someone on the Rose for MVP wagon, but I can tell you that nights like this make it hard not to give it to him. Reality is, not everyone has embraced advanced plus/minus or win shares. Most still watch games for what they are and Rose gives those the thrill of a lifetime. He looks like an MVP. It's hard to deny that feeling you get while watching him orchestrate the Bulls.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bulls/Celtics Tonight = Re-Post of My Game 6 Recap: INCREDI-BULL!!


A triple-overtime thriller. What a roller-coaster of emotions. I hated the refs. Hated Rondo. Loved Kirk. Hated ray Allen. Loved Salmons. Loved Rose. Hated the refs. Hated Ray Allen. Hated the refs. Hated Vinny. Hated the refs. Hated Vinny. LOVED Joa-Noah. Hated Kirk. Loved Rose.

Right now: hating the Celtics and HATING the refs, but LOVING the WIN!!!

I'm too happy/tired/headache/exhausted/excited/sweating to analyze this game, so the best way to do it is witha recap of texts (and some facebook updates) from throughout, [point in the game in brackets] ...

[Early in the game]
Coe (via facebook) - "the NBA should be ashamed of themselves. Not only did they blow the call during Game 5, they blew it upon review cause it was a game deciding play, and now they are calling anything and everything except not ejecting Rondo for a hook and slam. It's not even fun to watch pre-decided bullshit, I'd rather watch WWE."
Me (via facebook) - "the refs continue to ruin this game. all basketball fans are being cheated as we are forced to watch refs instead of basketball."

[After Rajon threw Kirk into the scorer's table and threw an elbow at him]
Me - "Eff you Rajon. Kirk owns your bitch-ass"
Goat (via facebook) - "that's why Kirk is my favorite NBA player"

HALFTIME - Summed things up here.

[End of regulation, after BG missed a shot in isoloation]
DC - "That's the last thing I wanted on that play ... This is the most nerve racking experience of my life"
Me - "And it's round 1 of D-Rose's Rookie year ... I've aged 38 years in 6 games"
Dru - "Why not give that to Rose and let him drive?"

[End of OT 1, Boston miss]
Me - "Wouldn't Vinny have a play ready? Why waste a timeout?"
DC - "I wasn't going to drink tonight and I'm 5 deep"

[Heading into OT 2]
DC - "Jesus effing Christ this series is bananas"
PMac - "I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight"

[After Vinny's inbound "play" at the end of OT 2]
DC - "Worst coach on earth ... How do you not have a play for that?"
Me- "if we lose it's on Vinny"
DC - "And BG, he had the worst game I've ever seen him play"
Me - "But Vinny with his switching on every play"
Dr Bill - "Del negro should be embarrassed about that play call"
Me (via facebook) - "Vinny is the worst coach on earth, probably in the universe. My 4th grade coach could draw up an inbound play ... try the "line" or the "box" vinny you dumb stupid asshole. Vinny is to coaching what NBA refs are to reffing. THE WORST.

[Pierce jumped into crowd to save the ball]
Me - "I would stab Paul Pierce if he jumped into me"
DC - "PK yelled 'Stab him!'"

[JoaNoah's steal, fast-break and slam]
PMac - "I take back everything bad I ever said about Noah"
Dru - "Love Noah, absolutely unreal"
Rohde - "P-O-S-T-E-R"
Butts (via facebook) - Uploaded ...

[Kirk missed layup to seal the win]
All Bulls fans - "Are you kidding me?"
PMac - "I feel like I just got kicked in the nuts"

[Post game]
DC - "All that and we have to win another one"
Kmart - "I couldn;t be more drained, that took 10 years off my life"
Dr Bill - "One of the better games ever"
Goat (via facebook) - "words can't do that game justice.... but this is one of the greatest playoff series ever and that was one of the greatest NBA games ever played."
Poose - "You alive?"


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Derrick Rose HD Mix

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Click-a-Bull (AudiBULL; Rose-to-Noah; Bulls Beating Everyone; Rose Unstoppable; Boozer More Than Snub)

I realize posts have been infrequent lately, but that clearly has nothing to do with how well the Bulls are playing and how excited I am about it. It just seems that twitter is a much easier forum for me to post links and discuss my views on the Bulls. So in the interest of self-promotion, follow me on twitter: @bullbearsock ... and you will get your share of Bulls links and thoughts. That's not to say I will never post Bulls thoughts / links here, but twitter and the podcast pretty much have me covered. Speaking of the podcast ...

As for AudiBULL - our promise of a weekly show has also been tough. Kmart has been traveling, but we will get back to recording the podcast for the last 1/3 of the season and the playoffs. We will no longer be hosted by CraicBackLive, but will still be on BlogTalkRadio. You can now find our podcast here:, although we have not yet recorded any shows at that location. When we do record a show, I will post the streaming player + iTunes link in a blog-post and along the sidebar -->

Here are some links I've been saving:

The Bulls aren't just hanging with anyone, they're beating everyone

Right before the Bulls faced the Orlando Magic, I noted that the schedule was about to get awfully difficult for the Bulls. They were facing perhaps the most difficult stretch of the season. A stretch rivaling the circus trip in terms of difficulty, and that stretch would define how good a team they are.

My goal for the team was to win 13 of the 20 games, but I lacked confidence that this team would roll against the best of the best and predicted a 10-10 stretch which now seems laughable.

I used to be 70 lbs overweight in college. When I lost all the weight and became athletic, it still took me three years for my body image to catch up to my new physical image. I promise it won't take three years for my view of the team to catch up with how bad ass the Bulls are. Derrick Rose has blossomed into a legit superstar, and the Chicago Bulls are not just 'hanging' with anyone. They're beating everyone.

Spurs Vs. Bulls: Derrick Rose Unstoppable In Huge Chicago Win

Derrick Rose scored a career-high 42 points as the Chicago Bulls entered All-Star Weekend with a massive 109-99 home win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls, No. 3 in the East and home to one of the league's most talked about MVP candidates in Rose, hardly need more confidence. They've had a wonderful season to date. But if there was any question about whether the Bulls could challenge the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat in the Eastern playoffs? Those concerns ought to be squelched.

The Spurs, of course, came in and left with the NBA's best record by no small margin. The loss was San Antonio's 10th in 56 games; no other team has fewer than 14 losses or more than 41 wins. It would take a grand collapse for the Spurs to lose home court advantage throughout the postseason, and it's not likely to happen. This is the perspective for how good the Spurs are, and how fantastic this win is for the Bulls.

Of course, it also happened to be the final game of San Antonio's Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs have spent all of February on the road, ending the trip 6-3. While a nine-game road trip will tire any team, the Spurs' contests were spread over 18 days, and San Antonio had two games off prior to the Bulls' match-up. This isn't similar to the Lakers' Wednesday loss in Cleveland, where L.A. had played five games in seven nights. The Spurs may be on the road, but they are rather rested.

It didn't matter. Rose ripped through the still-excellent Spurs defense regularly, beating Tony Parker off the dribble with relative ease. Rose scored 11 points in the first, 10 in the second, eight in the third and 13 in the fourth. He was, in a word, relentless, and nothing the Spurs tried to slow him managed to work.

Derrick Rose is the total package

Early in his Bulls career, he suffered through 10 stitches after cutting his arm when he forgot he had left a knife on his bed.

And then, of course, there was his recent bout with ulcers, which was attributed to his fondness for spicy food.

So, you see, he’s only Superman-like when he’s wearing a jersey adorned with the No. 1.

His wide-ranging abilities on a basketball floor are well-documented. The linchpin for a Bulls team that has risen to third in the Eastern Conference, Rose is receiving his due at the All-Star Game, where he will make his first start tonight in Los Angeles.

What initially caught the Bulls’ eye was not only his ability to defy gravity on the court but the way he kept both feet on the ground off the court. For all his basketball skill, the organization also was impressed with Rose’s unassuming maturity.

‘‘We can all sit here and say we knew, but you never know,’’ Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said. ‘‘The sense with Derrick always was that he was humble and that he understood what it would take to be a great player, and he’s never deviated from that.’’

Carlos Boozer: More Than Just An All-Star Snub

When Joakim Noah went down with a thumb injury, Carlos Boozer was looked upon to provide the spark he had been signed for.

Boozer has created more than a spark; he’s lighting it up averaging 19.5 points per game.

Then, Boozer was snubbed as an All-Star reserve, and some argued that the MVP should be given to Rose at season’s end.

Chicago is not looking for another All-Star or another MVP, they’re clearly on the path for a shiny new ring and Boozer has become their biggest asset.

Chicago started the season 9-6 as they faced one of the toughest early schedules in the league. Since Boozer’s return, the Bulls have been on a tear going 27-10 since his return. As Joakim Noah nurses a right thumb injury, Boozer’s 10.1 RPG lead the team who are second in the league in rebounding. With Rose’s emergence as an MVP candidate, his stellar play leads to more looks for the big man. Noah benefited from the open space created from Rose and Carlos Boozer mid-range jumper is simultaneously helping create more of the open lane.